Iowa primary election contests take shape

10 vying for governor; all U.S. House seats contested

The House Chambers in the Iowa Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
The House Chambers in the Iowa Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — The June 5 primary election ballot will offer Iowans plenty of choices, starting with 10 candidates seeking the governor’s office and primaries in three of Iowa’s four U.S. House races.

Republican Ron Corbett filed his nomination papers Friday afternoon to bring the field of gubernatorial hopefuls to 10 with primaries for the GOP, Democratic and Libertarian party nominations.

Corbett will face Gov. Kim Reynolds of Des Moines, who has held the office since May 2017 when she succeeded Terry Branstad, who resigned to become U.S. ambassador to China. Although he filed, the Secretary of State Office said his papers had not been verified by the close of business.

Six Democrats — state Sen. Nate Boulton, Fred Hubbell, Andy McGuire and John Norris, all of Des Moines, Cathy Glasson of Coralville and Ross Wilburn of Ames — are competing for their party’s nomination to face the winner of the Corbett-Reynolds’ contest.

And in the Libertarian Party, Marco Battaglia of Des Moines and Jake Porter of Council Bluffs are seeking the nomination.

Corbett is one of three candidates who will have to wait until Monday for their petitions to be verified. Even then, candidates are not qualified for the ballot until after the March 23 deadline for filing a challenge to a candidate’s paperwork.

Also in holding patterns are 1st District Democrat Courtney Rowe of Cedar Rapids, who submitted her papers Friday afternoon, and 3rd District Democrat Theresa Greenfield of Des Moines, who withdrew her petition signatures and submitted new ones just before the filing deadline.


As the filing period closed, party leaders voiced confidence their candidates would prevail.


“We have 47 strong incumbents running this fall, which is a great starting point,” House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, said.

Despite 12 retirements, that’s the second most incumbents the House GOP has had since 2002, Upmeyer also is looking to pick up open seats “that we will be targeting to protect and grow our Republican majority this fall.”

House Minority Leader Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown, was equally optimistic. Fielding candidates in 95 out of 100 House districts, which he said is the most by either party in 30 years, shows “momentum is building for a blue wave in November.”

State Senate leaders also predicted success in the fall.

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, said Republican candidates in targeted districts have “deep ties to their communities, they are active in civic organizations, and they are committed to moving Iowa forward.

And Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, said fielding 23 candidates in 25 races “almost feels like there is a buzz in the air across our state. Iowans are longing for leaders who will show up for them and give them more opportunities to get ahead in life.”

In Linn County, Democrats Molly Donahue of Cedar Rapids and Scott Foens of Marion are seeking to challenge Republican Randy Ray of Cedar Rapids for an open a seat in House District 68, where Rep. Ken Rizer, R-Marion, is not seeking re-election.

Also in the Corridor, Democrats have a three-way primary for an open seat in Johnson, Cedar and Muscatine counties.

In Senate District 37, Eric Dirth and Zach Wahls, both of Coralville, and Janice Weiner of Iowa City hope to succeed Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville, who is retiring. Libertarian Carl Krambeck of Clarence also is running. No Republican has filed.



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In statewide races, fives Republicans — Ray Gaesser of Corning, Craig Lang of Brooklyn, Mike Naig of Des Moines, Chad Ingels of Randalia and Sen. Dan Zumbach of Ryan — are seeking the nomination for secretary of agriculture. Tim Gannon, a Des Moines Democrat, also filed.

The winner will replace Bill Northey, who resigned to accept a top position in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

GOP Auditor Mary Mosiman of Ames will face Democrat Rob Sand.

Attorney General Tom Miller of Des Moines and State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald of Waukee, both Democrats, do not yet have opponents for re-election.

Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate of Cedar Rapids will face either Deidre DeJear and Jim Mowrer, both Des Moines Democrats, in his bid for re-election.


l 1st District: Democrats have a four-way primary between Thomas Heckroth of Cedar Falls, state Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque, George Ramsey III of Marion and Courtney Rowe of Cedar Rapids.

The winner will challenge Republican Rep. Rod Blum of Dubuque, who filed Friday for a third term.

l 2nd District: Two Republicans — Christopher Peters of Coralville and Ginny Caligiuri of Osceola — are vying to challenge Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa City, who filed late Friday.

l 3rd District: Republican Rep. David Young of Van Meter will face the winner of a Democratic primary between three candidates — Cindy Axne of West Des Moines, Pete D’Alessandro of Des Moines, and Theresa Greenfield of Des Moines. Bryan Holder of Council Bluffs is the Libertarian candidate.

l 4th District: Rep. Steve King of Kiron is challenged in the Republican primary by Cyndi Hanson of Sioux City. Three Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination: Leann Jacobsen of Spencer, John Paschen of Ames and J.D. Scholten of Sioux City. Libertarian Charles Aldrich of Clarion also is running.


Linn County races


l House 65: Republican George Olmstead will challenge Democrat Rep. Liz Bennett. Both are from Cedar Rapids.

l House 66: Rep. Art Staed will face Republican Teresa Daubitz. Both are from Cedar Rapids.

l House 67: Democrat Eric Gjerde of Cedar Rapids is challenging Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson of Marion.

l House 69: Democrat Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt of Cedar Rapids is unopposed.

l House 70: Democrat Tracy Ehlert of Cedar Rapids is unopposed.

l House 95: Rep. Louis Zumbach of Coggon will face Democrat Christian Andrews of Mount Vernon.

Johnson County races

l House 73: Republican Rep. Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton will face Democrat Jodi Clemens of West Branch.

l House 74: Democratic Rep. Dave Jacoby of Coralville is unopposed.

l House 77: Democratic Rep. Amy Nielsen of North Liberty is unopposed.


l House 85: Democratic Rep. Vicki Lensing of Iowa City is unopposed.

l House 86: Democratic Rep. Mary Mascher of Iowa City is unopposed.

l Senate 39: Democratic Sen. Kevin Kinney of Oxford will be challenged by Heather Hora of Washington.

l Senate 43: Democratic Sen. Joe Bolkcom will face Republican Patrick Wronkiewicz, both of Iowa City.

Eastern Iowa races

l House 55: Republican Rep. Michael Bergan of Dorchester will face Democrat Kayla Koether of Decorah.

l House 56: Republican Dale Bolsinger of Colesburg will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Lori Egan of Waukon and Andy Kelleher of New Albin. Rep. Kristi Hager, R-Waukon, is not seeking re-election.

l House 57: Rep. Shannon Lundgren of Peosta will face the winner of a Democratic primary between Nancy Fett of Peosta and Leo Gansen of Epworth. Libertarian Lucas Link of Dubuque also filed.

l House 58: Republican Rep. Andy McKean of Anamosa will face Democrat Joe Oclon of Bellevue.


l House 64: Democratic Rep. Bruce Bearinger of Oelwein is unopposed.

l House 72: Republican Rep. Dean Fisher of Montour will face the winner of a four-way Democratic primary between John William Anderson and Mindy Benson, both of Tama, David Degner of Clutier, and Joycelyn George of Traer.

l House 75: Republican Thomas Gerhold of Atkins will face the winner of a three-way Democratic primary between Paula Denison and Doris Guilford, both of Van Horne, and Dennis Mathahs of Marengo. Libertarian John George also filed. Incumbent Rep. Dawn Pettengill, R-Mount Auburn, is not seeking re-election.

l House 78: Republican Rep. Jarad Klein of Keota will face Democrat Kimberly Davis of Washington.

l House 84: Four Republicans are running to succeed retiring Rep. Dave Heaton of Mount Pleasant. They are Martin Amos and Sheila Matheney, both of Mount Pleasant, Trevor Lynn of Brighton and Joe Mitchell of Des Moines. The winner will face Democrat Jason Moats of Mount Union.

l House 96: Democrat Reenie Montgomery of Manchester is challenging Republican Rep. Lee Hein of Monticello.

l Senate 29: Democratic Sen. Tod Bowman of Maquoketa will face Republican Carrie Koelker of Dyersville.

l Senate 33: Democratic Sen. Rob Hogg will face Republican Edward Bernie Hayes, both of Cedar Rapids.


l Senate 35: Rep. Todd Taylor of Cedar Rapids is unopposed for the seat held by retiring Sen. Wally Horn.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375;

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